2006 Outstanding Aerospace Engineer awards

The designation Outstanding Aerospace Engineer recognizes the professional contributions of graduates from the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and thanks them for the recognition their success brings to Purdue and the School.

The School is pleased to honor seven graduates in 2006 with the Outstanding Aerospace Engineer award.

Thomas C. Adamson, Jr.


Professor Emeritus and Chairman (Retired), Department of Aerospace Engineering ~ University of Michigan

"The education I received at Purdue was outstanding; it gave me the broad and solid background I needed for graduate work and research. The most rewarding part of my career has been the extension of the same kind of help to my students. In addition, I have greatly enjoyed doing research wiht my graduate students and being involved in consultation with various corporate and governmental entities."

Thomas C. Adamson, Jr. (BSAE '49) went on to earn his MSAE (1950) and his PhD (1954) from the California Institute of Technology. He joined the University of Michican in 1954 as an associate research engineer with the Engineering Research Institute. He chaired the Department of Aerospace Engineering from 1983-1992. His research focused on unsteady transonic channel flow, supersonic jets, combustion problems consisting of rocket motor combustion instabilities, hydrocarbon emissions from conventional internal combustion engines, ignition and combustion in a laminar mixing region, and detonation waves.

Dr. Adamson received the Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the University of Michigan in 1980. He has served on several committees and boards, including the Fran´┐Żois-Xavier Bagnoud U.S. Foundation, the Fran´┐Żois-Xavier Bagnoud Aerospace Prize Board, and the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame. A fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, he is also a founding member of the Society of Engineering Sciences.

Steven M. Ehlers


Vice President of Product Design and Development ~ Callaway Golf Company

"I am thankful for the career preparation and guidance provided by my education at Purdue. Through classes and interaction with professors, staff, and fellow students, my time at Purdue not only provided the foundation of engineering knowledge and skills for a career in research and development in both aerospace and consumer products, but also greatly influenced my attitude, philosophy, and approach to work and life."

Steven M. Ehlers (BSAAE '77, MSAAE '78, PhD '91) is currently vice president of product design and development for Callaway Golf Company in Carlsbad, California. In this role he leasds the program management, design, analysis, materials and process development, tooling, measurement, and test groups responsible for taking products from concept to commercial introduction. His previous positions in the company included senior program director and senior director of research and testing.

Currently Dr. Ehlers is Callaway Golf's voting representative to the Industrial Research Institute. Prior to joining the company he was employed in aerospace research and development for Composite Optics, Inc., McDonnell Douglas Technologies, Inc., and General Dynamics Convair Division. His areas of work included adaptive structures, low observables technology, dimensionally stable structures, advanced composites, and structural joining methods.

Dr. Ehlers is a past chair of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) San Diego Section, plus a past member of the AIAA Structures Technical Committee. He has served on the editorial advisory board of the Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures.

Jerry W. McElwee


Vice President, Joint & Adjacent Programs ~ The Boeing Company

"Purdue University provided me with invaluable building blocks of critical thinking skills, an interest in innovation, and an enthusiasm for lifelong learning. My education became the foundation for two exciting, challenging, and immensely rewarding careers. It allowed me the great privilege and personal satisfaction, first with the United States Army and now with The Boeing Company, to contribute to our nation and the wider world beyond."

Jerry W. McElwee (BSES '68, MSIA '70) is a Boeing vice president responsible for identifying, integrating and deploying emerging technologies. His work has included serving as vice president and program manager for the concept and technology development phase of the Future Combat Systems Program (the first stage of the Army's $21 billion transformation and modernization), building the National Missile Defense Communications Network, and designing the Department of Defense's next-generation tactical radios.

Mr. McElwee retired from the U.S. Army as a brigadier general in 2000. He last servedc as chief information officer and J6 of the U.S. Joint Forces Command, a 1.2 million member organization. Mr. McElwee was in charge of all command and control, communications, information systems, and policy. Other noteworthy assignments were deputy commanding general, U.S. Army Signal Center; commander, 22nd Signal Brigade; and chief of war plans, VII Corps. Mr. McElwee was the first signal officer to attend the prestigious School for Advanced Military Studies, whose graduates are respectfully known throughout the Army as "Jedi Knights." He was inducted into the Purdue ROTC Hall of Fame in 1999.

Allen S. Novick


Vice President, Marketing Intelligence and Support ~ Rolls-Royce, Corp.

"After graduating with his bachelor's degree, Novick received job offers from several companies but decided instead to continue his education. "I realized from having interviewed what the long-term benefit of having a Purdue graduate degree would be," explains Novick, "because Purdue then and today has a super reputation, and there was no doubt that the degrees would open doors for me."

Novick's initial activities involved many aspects of turbine engine research and technology which over time centered on the development of PropFan technologies. "We tried to get the best of two worlds: the efficiency of a propeller and the speed of a turbofan," explains Novick.

He led Allison's activities in winning the power plant selections on both Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas offerings for the NASA PropFan Test Assessment program and was the managing director of a partnership with Pratt & Whitney to develop PropFan engines for commercial airliners. His leadership in PropFan technology culminated in the company winning its first Collier Award, which recognizes the greatest achievement in aeronautics and astronautics in America, and he was the recipient of an Aviation Week Laurels award in 1987.

Novick's insight then led to the development of the AE Common Core engine family, where the same turbo machinery is used to make three different engine concepts. The common core engine family concept has been instrumental in reducing production cost and has been a cornerstone of Rolls-Royce business in Indianapolis (Rolls-Royce purchased Allison Engine Co. in 1995). "We're the only ones who have been successful in creating a common core engine family," says Novick. As Vice President of Allison's Large Commercial Engines he led the campaigns to winning engine competitions on seven aircraft. These successes launched Allison into the commercial regional airline, corporate jet and unmanned air vehicle market sectors. Two of the aircraft, Citation X and Global Hawk, were also Collier Award winners.

He later developed the "cost excellence" philosophy and organizational structure, a measure that has been instrumental in contributing to Rolls-Royce's success. "We are a highly competitive industry," Novick says. "Cost is becoming a very dominant aspect of the business. The way to make money today is to reduce your cost, but there is only so much you can do by going around and cajoling your suppliers to reduce cost."

Instead, Novick introduced a new factor into the engineering parameter. "We created what we call the philosophy of cost consciousness," explains Novick. "We put together an organization that did nothing but work on cost: to design for cost, to take existing parts and redesign them, to get the engineers to start to put cost into their matrix and parameters in addition to everything else that they worried about."

Doris 'Dodie' Hurt Powers


Owner/President (Retired) ~ Shielding Technologies, Inc.

"If I had a motto, it would be to never stop learning and to learn about things out of your field as well. Imagination is crucial, as is curiosity. Purdue taught me the mantra of engineers…'Take a problem, think it through, and find a solution.'"

Doris "Dodie" Hurt Powers (BSATR '49) is the retired owner and president of Shielding Technologies, Inc. She is also the former owner and president of both T & E International, Inc. and Test and Evaluation International Services, Inc.

When her husband served in the U.S. Army, Ms. Powers was active in the Civil Air Patrol and rose to the rank of major and squadron commander. In the flying area she served as a flight instructor and check pilot. As a licensed ground instructor Ms. Powers taught aircraft, engines, and navigation. She received a citation from the U.S. Army and the United States for her 28 years of service as an Army spouse.

Ms. Powers has served on several boards including the Army Alliance, Inc., the Harford County (Maryland) Economic Development Advisory Board, the Harford County Leadership Academy Advisory Board, and the Northeast Maryland Technology Council (of which she is also a charter member). A fellow of the Society of Women Engineers, she received the Old Master Award from Purdue and the 1996 Woman of Distinction Award from Soroptimist International of Bel Air.

Richard B. Rivir


Scientific Advisor ~ U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Propulsion Directorate

"Purdue provided a wonderful experience and some of the fondest memories I have ever had in allowing us to grow up technically, physically, socially, and spiritually. My father would have loved to have been in my shoes when I attended Purdue and would have been as thrilled with this honor as I am. I hope that I have been able to pass on some of the experiences I gained at Purdue to the students nad others with whom I have worked."

Richard B. Rivir (BSAE '60) received his MSAE (1968) and his PhD (1976) from Ohio State University. He has been with the Air Force Research Laboratory's Propulsion Directorate fro 46 years in electric propulsion, plans, advanced propulsion, and turbines. Dr. Rivir has served on special projects including the design and testing of the aerodynamics for the first Air Borne Laser Lab and the Compressor Research Facility. He has led the Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Turbine Aero Thermal effort for the Propulsion Directorate for 22 years and became a member of the Air Force's Scientific Senior Executive Service in 2001.

Dr. Rivir currently serves on Von Karman Institute's Technical Advisory Committee, is vice chair for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) K-14 International Gas Turbine Heat Transfer Committee, and is an Air Force NRC (National Research Council) advisor. A fellow of both the ASME and the Air Force Research Laboratory, he received the 2002 Air Breathing Propulsion Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

His outside interests, which have continued from Purdue, include tennis and running. He has played 45 years on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base's Dayton Industrial Athletic Association tennis team and has also run the Boston Marathon.

Norman V. Scurria, Jr.


Advanced Technology Development ~ DRS TAMSCO

"When you are able to successfully apply your knowledge, skill, and experience to the solution of the real world's engineering problems and have the passion to do so, then you are an engineer. Until then, it is an unattained goal and, without the passion, an impossible one. Purdue gave me the opportunity, knowledge, and skill, further bolstered my passion for engineering, gave me the confidence to use it, and I did. Thank you Purdue, for that gift!"

Norman V. Scurria, Jr. (MSASE '80) has accumulated 38 years of leadership experience ranging from combat in Vietnam to top-level executive boardroms. An active aviator of 27 years, he has accumulated more than 5,000 flight hours as a command, test, and instructor pilot in five different fixed and rotary wing operational aircraft. He has served at five operational U.S> Coast Guard air stations, commanding two of them, was the chief aeronautical engineer of the Coast Guard, and served as chief of staff of the Fifth Coast Guard District before retirement in 1996.

His other diverse experience includes serving eight years in business as president of a small company, in addition to managing a major aircraftt system acquisition. He also has extensive experience in the design, development, and application of integrated database management systems, including sophisticated analytical, mathematical modeling for logistic support applications, aircraft design and modification, accident investigation, and sensor and remote sensing technologies.

Today, Mr. Scurria is designing a program for advanced and emerging technology applications for DRS TAMSCO, in partnership with North Carolina State University. His honors have included 25 military decorations, the highest being the Department of Transportation Gold Medal for outstanding achievement for the formation and commanding of the first drug air interdiction squadron with E-2C aircraft.